Have you ever had that moment? That moment when suddenly she can reach her cup on the counter or you go to hold him but his legs are longer than the side of the chair? That moment when you suddenly realize your baby isn’t a baby?
It happened the other day in her closet. I make Brynna choose her clothes the night before to spare us all THAT drama at 7am. She was dressed for bed uncharacteristically in shorts and a tank top. Usually she’s in a princess nightgown that looks like it should be evening wear or superhero pajamas complete with a cape. This time she was standing there, her hair wet from her shower, with her leg kind of out to one side as she flipped through her clothes. She pushed the hangers one-by-one. Every now and then she would pause, ponder and then keep going – like she’s seen me do a million times at Nordstrom.
It wasn’t the picture of a toddler choosing mismatched sweats in the middle of summer because she wants to pick what she wears. (I’m well acquainted with that process.) It was a big kid deciding what to wear for Red Day at school. I had a flash in my mind’s eye of that exact scene 10 years from now as she dresses for a date.
When you have a strong-willed, fiercely independent (I mean FIERCELY independent) child, you kind of get used to not having “baby” moments. Brynna was never a snuggler. She wanted to walk before she could sit up. She decided at the ripe age of 2 that she didn’t need naps anymore, and she could read before Kindergarten. (That’s not a bragging point. It’s evidence that she wants to depend on someone else to help her as little as possible. She’d much rather read the sign and tell me the lane is about to end than have to ask what something says. Yes, she’s a backseat driver and she’s still in a booster seat. But I digress.)
Even though I’m used to being told “I can do it my big-girl self,” moments like that one in the closet still take my breath away. Moments when I see her not for who she is but who she one day will be. I believe strongly that as moms, we are not caring for babies. We are raising the men and women they will be tomorrow. In that moment in the closet, I saw Brynna Tomorrow. I saw her strength under control because I didn’t break her spirit but taught her how to use it the correct way. I saw her independence shining not as arrogance but as confidence because she knows my love is not conditional. I didn’t see the baby she was. I saw the girl she is and the woman she will become.
Brynna turns 6 today, and I’m pretty sure she’ll turn 26 next March. I’m so grateful for all the little moments that take my breath away – and the ones that threaten to take my sanity – and all the moments in between.